Jets' Nathan Shepherd suspended 6 games for PEDs, admits to taking banned substance

Andy Vasquez, NFL writer
Published 5:19 p.m. ET Sept. 10, 2019
SportsPulse: Power rankings are back and Trysta Krick dissects the biggest risers and fallers from the first week of action.
USA TODAYDefensive lineman Nathan Shepherd didn’t play in the Jets’ season-opener. And don’t expect to see him on the field for the foreseeable future. Shepherd, the Jets’ 2018 third-round pick, was suspended six games by the NFL on Tuesday for using performance-enhancing drugs.Give Shepherd credit for honesty. The 25-year-old told NFL Network that he failed two drug tests because he knowingly took a banned substance in an effort to speed his recovery from injury so he could compete in training camp.”The only competitive advantage I was really looking for was being able to come to camp healthy and having an opportunity to compete,” Shepherd told NFL Network. “I was coming off of a subpar season and a new coaching staff, new playbook, new everything. I didn’t feel very confident with how everything had gone thus far. “I made a rash decision, an unwise decision and a selfish decision to look to certain PEDs in order to help me with that recovery process so I would be ready to go.”Shepherd did not have much of an impact during training camp or the preseason, but the Jets elected to keep him on the 53-man roster. His honesty seemingly earned him some leniency from the league. He could have been suspended 14 games for failing two tests. “I’m grateful to the league for showing some understanding, leniency and fairness,” Shepherd told NFL Network. He also said he was grateful to Adam Gase and the Jets’ coaching staff for “granting me the opportunity to come in every day and earn my spot on the 53-man roster.” Gase gave Shepherd credit for his honesty after the suspension was announced.”Everybody makes mistakes,” Gase said on ESPN’s The Michael Kay Show. “I feel like he’s handled everything the right way. We talk about owning things and stepping up and if we make a mistake, understanding that that can’t happen again, and I feel like he’s done that.”It’s unclear what Shepherd’s future will be with the Jets — if he has one at all. They have a crowded defensive line, and he failed to make any sort of meaningful impact in his first season in the league. Email: [email protected] ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext Slide